It’s the way we’re wired, us men. We immerse ourselves in our labour: some are lawyers, miners and car salesmen; others are astronauts, physicists, artists or runners. This immersion is our meaning: it defines many of us. We are breadwinners; we provide. In days gone by, we would have speared a woolly mammoth: In one fell swoop, food and warmth. We would have dragged it back home, processed it and proudly presented it to our kin. Then we would have left to go and find more. These days, our woolly mammoths are sales pitches and consultations; lessons taught and lectures given; races won and gold ore discovered; bridges built and products assembled.
Our work is our pride. It is our calling. We struggle to let go. We leave our physical workspace behind but our labour stays with us. We are physically present at home but our heads and our hearts are wrapped up in the wrestlings of work. This is etched on our faces and discernible in the tone of our voice and the length of our patience.
Home is where I can be myself. The layers are stripped away and there is no pretence. That is my excuse. But, in truth, what I really need to do, is let go and engage. I need to walk away from work with my legs and my head. And my heart. I need to be intentionally present at home. My face must reflect the joy of being with them, rather than the distress of the other distractions in my life. My attitude must express how much I treasure them, not how much I resent the time they are taking from finishing this or that. I must take as much time as I can to steal moments and hours when I can rather than have those stolen from precious time with them. All these things are choices I can make.
I must laugh more, smile more, play more and take things less seriously because these are my girls and they love me. And I love them.